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It's no secret that there are few sports radio hosts not only in metro Detroit but in the entire midwest (and perhaps even country) who are more outspoken and abrasive than 97.1 The Ticket's Mike Valenti, who routinely fires up listeners with his impassioned takes every weekday from 2-6 PM. And regardless of how polarizing his views can be, his latest comments about the underperforming Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez may not garner very much pushback from Tigers fans.
Mike Valenti mercilessly blasted Javier Baez this afternoon
Baez, who has four years and a whopping $98 million left on his current deal, has hit only three home runs with 27 RBI so far in 2023 with a .223 batting average. And if Valenti gets his way, the Tigers would simply part ways with him in order to stop handcuffing manager A.J. Hinch.
“He is one of the worst everyday players in all of baseball, and he’s worse this year than last year,” Valenti said this afternoon. “If you wanted to say, is he the worst athlete to ever sign in this town? I went down that road. I want to know how the story ends with Baez, because if you still have hope for him, I don’t know what it’s based on.
“I think this ends with what we’re watching right now with Cabrera. Baez can’t opt out. His agent will lay down in his driveway behind his car before he lets Javy opt out. Four years and $98 million beyond this. You cannot ask me to take this franchise seriously if I gotta endure two, three, four more years of morbid obligation.”
What's more, Baez is ranked 160th out of 162 qualified MLB hitters with a .583 OPS.
“On nights you play Javy Baez, you get nothing,” Valenti said. “You could basically pluck anyone in this league and get more. So if we’re asking Hinch and the Tigers, in the throes of a rebuild, to play a man short over the next four years, how can I take you seriously?”
Wrapping It Up: Does Valenti have a point about the struggles of Baez?
Simply put, Baez is not performing up to expectations of a Major League Baseball player who was given such a massive contract. With hefty deals like the one he received, there come a certain set of expectations, and he's just not meeting them.
While the chances of Tigers owner Chris Ilitch writing Baez a check just to not play baseball for the franchise any more are miniscule, what are the odds that there is growing sentiment within the organization that it would be the best move for both parties involved?